The Aztecs were groups of ethnical people who lived in central Mexico. The most popular groups spoke the Nahuatl language. In the 14th, 15th, and 16th centuries the Aztecs ruled large parts of Mesoamerica.
The Aztecs wore gold bangles, necklaces, and chokers. They wore jewellery to show how rich they were. The richer Aztec people also wore feather headdresses. The people of a higher ranking also wore cotton clothes. Commoners wore clothes made of Maguey plant fibre. It was a law that only upper class Aztecs could wear cotton, if commoners or any lower class member wore cotton they could be put to death.
Tenochtitlan – the capital city of the Aztec empire – means ‘place of the cactus’. It is believed that the Aztec people decided to settle here when they saw an eagle perched on a cactus with a snake in its mouth. They took this to be a sign from the gods that they should settle there.
Most of the slaves were people who had committed a crime and been sentenced to slavery or very poor people who sold themselves into slavery. However Aztec slaves did have some rights. They could own property and marry. Any children they had were born free. A master had to punish his slave 3 times, in front of witnesses before he could sell him. However if a slave was sold 3 times by 3 different masters he could then be sold for sacrifice.
In lake Texcoco cities were built on little islands and were divided into four city sections called campans. These cities had canals running through them which were important for water transportation.
The capital city of the Aztec empire – Tenochtitlan - was built to a fixed plan and the Great Pyramid of Tenochtitlan was built on the ritual precinct and was 50m above the city. Houses were made out of wood and mud and the roofs were made of reed. Pyramids, temples, and palaces were normally made out of stone.
Because Aztec culture was very similar to the other ethnic groups of central Mexico it could not be classified as purely Aztec. The Aztecs held many rituals according to the Aztec calendar. They also had human sacrifices for the many gods they believed in. There was one god, the Sun God, who they believed would not let the sun rise the next morning if a human was not sacrificed. During the sacrifice the sacrifice’s heart would be cut out of their living body. Then their heart would be held up to the sun.
W - their writing was pictographic and was not read in a certain order.
C – some of the cities were Calixtlahuaca, Chalco, Cuatetelco, Cuentepec, Ixtapaluca, Malinalco, Tenayuca, Tenochtitlan, Tepanecs, Teopanzolco, Texcoco, Tlacopan, Yuatepec.
C - There were priests, nobles, slaves, merchants, commoners.
O/G - (refer to note book) – Even though the Aztec empire was referred to as an empire some cites were blocked off from the main range, making some areas more like city states.
S - There were many crafts men in the Aztec empire. Farmers, merchants, hunters, fishermen, artists, clothes makers, architects, etc.
C/R – the Aztecs worshiped many gods. They made human sacrifices which involved cutting out the heart of a slave that was the sacrifice.
A/A – Songs and poetry were very popular in Aztec culture. But they also had dramatic acts, musicians, and acrobats in performances.
P – Roads that lead to the conquered cities made greater ability to communicate and trade through the different cites of the Aztec empire.
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